Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis
Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis KG, PC, styled Viscount Brome between 1753 and 1762 and known as The Earl Cornwallis between 1762 and 1792, was a British Army general and official. In the United States and the United Kingdom he is best remembered as one of the leading British generals in the American War of Independence, his surrender in 1781 to a combined American and French force at the Siege of Yorktown ended significant hostilities in North America. He served as a civil and military governor in Ireland and India. Born into an aristocratic family and educated at Eton and Cambridge, Cornwallis joined the army in 1757, seeing action in the Seven Years' War. Upon his father's death in 1762 he entered the House of Lords. From 1766 until 1805 he was Colonel of the 33rd Regiment of Foot, he next saw military action in 1776 in the American War of Independence. Active in the advance forces of many campaigns, in 1780 he inflicted an embarrassing defeat on the American army at the Battle of Camden.
He commanded British forces in the March 1781 Pyrrhic victory at Guilford Court House. Cornwallis surrendered his army at Yorktown in October 1781 after an extended campaign through the Southern states, marked by disagreements between him and his superior, General Sir Henry Clinton. Despite this defeat, Cornwallis retained the confidence of successive British governments and continued to enjoy an active career. Knighted in 1786, he was in that year appointed to be Governor-General and commander-in-chief in India. There he enacted numerous significant reforms within the East India Company and its territories, including the Cornwallis Code, part of which implemented important land taxation reforms known as the Permanent Settlement. From 1789 to 1792 he led British and Company forces in the Third Anglo-Mysore War to defeat the Mysorean ruler Tipu Sultan. Returning to Britain in 1794, Cornwallis was given the post of Master-General of the Ordnance. In 1798 he was appointed Lord Lieutenant and Commander-in-chief of Ireland, where he oversaw the response to the 1798 Irish Rebellion, including a French invasion of Ireland, was instrumental in bringing about the Union of Great Britain and Ireland.
Following his Irish service, Cornwallis was the chief British signatory to the 1802 Treaty of Amiens and was reappointed to India in 1805. He died in India not long after his arrival. Cornwallis was born in Grosvenor Square in London, he was the eldest son of 5th Baron Cornwallis. His mother, was the daughter of Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend, niece of Sir Robert Walpole, his uncle, was Archbishop of Canterbury. Frederick's twin brother, was a military officer, colonial governor, founder of Halifax, Nova Scotia, his brother William became an Admiral in the Royal Navy. His other brother, James inherited the earldom from Cornwallis's son, Charles; the family was established at Brome Hall, near Eye, Suffolk, in the 14th century, its members would represent the county in the House of Commons over the next three hundred years. Frederick Cornwallis, created a Baronet in 1627, fought for King Charles I, followed King Charles II into exile, he was made Baron Cornwallis, of Eye in the County of Suffolk, in 1661, by judicious marriages his descendants increased the importance of his family.
Cornwallis was educated at Clare College, Cambridge. While at Eton, he received an injury to his eye by an accidental blow while playing hockey, from Shute Barrington Bishop of Durham, he obtained his first commission as Ensign in the 1st Foot Guards, on 8 December 1757. He sought and gained permission to engage in military studies abroad. After travelling on the continent with a Prussian officer, Captain de Roguin, he studied at the military academy of Turin. Upon completion of his studies in Turin in 1758, he traveled to Geneva, where he learned that British troops were to be sent to the Continent in the Seven Years' War. Although he tried to reach his regiment before it sailed from the Isle of Wight, he learnt upon reaching Cologne that it had sailed, he managed instead to secure an appointment as a staff officer to Lord Granby. A year he participated at the Battle of Minden, a major battle that prevented a French invasion of Hanover. After the battle, he purchased a captaincy in the 85th Regiment of Foot.
In 1761, he was promoted to Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel. He led his regiment in the Battle of Villinghausen on 15–16 July 1761, was noted for his gallantry. In 1762 his regiment was involved in heavy fighting during the Battle of Wilhelmsthal. A few weeks they defeated Saxon troops at the Battle of Lutterberg and ended the year by participating in the Siege of Cassel. In January 1760 Cornwallis became a Member of Parliament, entering the House of Commons for the village of Eye in Suffolk, he succeeded his father as 2nd Earl Cornwallis in 1762, which resulted in his elevation to the House of Lords. He became a protege of the leading Whig magnate, future Prime Minister, Lord Rockingham, he was one of five peers. In the following years, he maintained a strong degree of support for the colonists during the tensions and crisis that led to the War of Independence. On 14 July 1768 he married daughter of a regimental colonel; the union was, by all accounts, happy. They settled in Culford, where their children and Charles were born.
Treaty of Aranjuez (1779)
The Treaty of Aranjuez was signed on 12 April 1779 by France and Spain. Under its terms, Spain agreed to support France in its war with Britain, in return for French assistance in recovering the former Spanish possessions of Menorca and the Floridas. By declaring war on Great Britain on 21 June 1779, Spain became involved in the American Revolutionary War; the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht that ended the War of the Spanish Succession confirmed British possession of the Spanish island of Menorca and the port of Gibraltar, giving them naval dominance in the Western Mediterranean. During the Seven Years' War in 1756, Britain lost Menorca to France but captured the key Spanish colonial cities of Havana and Manila in 1762; as part of the 1763 peace settlement, Britain regained Menorca and exchanged Havana and Manila for the Spanish colonies of East Florida and West Florida. France compensated Spain for these losses by transferring ownership of Louisiana. West Florida controlled entry to the Mississippi River through the port of Mobile and included the Gulf Coast areas of modern-day Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Both Floridas were overwhelmingly Loyalist and refused invitations to the First Continental Congress in 1774. When the American Revolutionary War began in 1776, the British blockade of New England meant Spanish ports such as New Orleans and Havana became a vital supply route for the colonists; this support was provided unofficially since Spain's Chief Minister, Count Floridablanca, hoped diplomacy would persuade Britain to return Menorca and the Floridas and remove illegal settlements in Central America. Peace with Britain was viewed as essential for his domestic reforms, while Spanish colonies in the Americas or New Spain were vulnerable to British naval power; this concern was heightened by border disputes with Britain's ally Portugal over the Río de la Plata basin. Several minor wars were fought over this and other territorial disputes, the latest being the 1776-1777 Spanish–Portuguese War. In October 1777, Portugal and Spain settled their differences by the First Treaty of San Ildefonso, followed by the Treaty of Pardo in March 1778.
Unlike the 1762-1763 Spanish-Portuguese War, the American War meant Britain was unable to help its ally. In February 1778, France and the United States signed a Treaty of Alliance, in which France recognised US independence and provided military support; the American War now became part of a wider, global conflict, undermining efforts to reach a diplomatic solution with Britain. On 12 April 1779, France and Spain signed the Treaty of Aranjuez and Spain formally declared war on Britain on 21 June; the terms of the Treaty were confidential. One important feature of the Treaty was that Spanish forces would only attack British possessions outside the United States. Both Charles III and Floridablanca were concerned by the potential impact of the American Revolution on Spain's own colonies, which had an important role in plans for modernising and expanding the Spanish economy. In addition, there had been constant disputes over encroachment by American colonists into New Spain before the war. Another less well-known impact of the Treaty is arguably still current today.
France agreed in a secret clause to continue the war until Spain recovered Gibraltar, while the 1778 Franco-American Treaty committed the signatories not to make a separate peace. The combination tied US independence to Spain's recovery of Gibraltar, without the knowledge of the Continental Congress; the result was a deep and abiding distrust of'foreign entanglements.' The Treaty of Aranjuez made Spain part of the Revolutionary War but its role is overlooked, since it was not involved. In addition, while Spain's biggest impact was on the war in America, by far its greatest investment of money and men was on the Great Siege of Gibraltar that began in June 1779. Between 1779-1781, Bernardo de Gálvez, Governor of Louisiana, captured West Florida and parts of East Florida, securing the Mississippi supply route and expelling Britain from the Gulf Coast, his contribution is remembered by the city of Galveston, named after him and he was awarded honorary US citizenship in December 2014. The Spanish agreed to defend the French West Indies, allowing Admiral de Grasse to intercept a British relief convoy at the Battle of the Chesapeake in September 1781.
By preventing resupply of the garrison, Chesapeake forced Cornwallis to surrender Yorktown in October, a decisive point in the achievement of US independence. In 1782, Menorca fell to a combined Spanish fleet. With the capture of the Floridas, these constituted significant successes for Spain. However, the largest effort was devoted to the Great Siege of Gibraltar which after three years had made little progress despite enormous expenditures of both money and men; the imposition of heavy taxes and'voluntary' donations to pay for the war caused unrest in much of the Spanish Empire, including the 1781 Revolt of the Comuneros in New Granada. By 1782, French finances were exhausted and began negotiations with Britain on a peace settlement in April. At first Spain insisted on continuing the war until Gibraltar fell, as stipulated by the Treaty of Aranjuez but withdrew that requirement after the disastrous repulse of a combined French and Spanish assault in September 1782. Under the Peace of Paris, Britain returned Menorca and the Floridas, allowing Spain to claim success although the loss of Gibraltar remains an issue to this
Treaty of Amity and Commerce (United States–France)
The Treaty of Amity and Commerce Between the United States and France, was the first of two treaties between the United States and France, signed on February 6, 1778, at the Hôtel de Coislin in Paris. Its sister treaty, the Treaty of Alliance were signed thereafter; the Treaty of Amity and Commerce recognized the de facto independence of the United States and established a commercial treaty between the two nations as an alternative to, in direct defiance of, the British Acts of Trade and Navigation. These were the first treaties negotiated by the fledgling United States and signed in the midst of the American Revolutionary War. Due to complications with the alliance treaty, America would not sign another military alliance until the Declaration by United Nations in 1942. Early in 1776, as the members of the American Continental Congress began to move closer to declaring independence from Britain, leading American statesmen began to consider the benefits of forming foreign alliances to assist in their rebellion against the British Crown.
The most obvious potential ally was France, a long-time enemy of Britain and a colonial rival who had lost much of their lands in the Americas after the French and Indian War. As a result, John Adams began drafting conditions for a possible commercial treaty between France and the future independent colonies of the United States, which declined the presence of French troops and any aspect of French authority in colonial affairs. On September 25 the Continental Congress ordered commissioners, led by Benjamin Franklin, to seek a treaty with France based upon Adams's draft treaty, formalized into a Model Treaty which sought the establishment of reciprocal trade relations with France but declined to mention any possible military assistance from the French government. Despite orders to seek no direct military assistance from France, the American commissioners were instructed to work to acquire most favored nation trading relations with France, along with additional military aid, encouraged to reassure any Spanish delegates that the United States had no desire to acquire Spanish lands in the Americas, in the hopes that Spain would in turn enter a Franco-American alliance.
Despite an original openness to the alliance, after word of the Declaration of Independence and a British evacuation of Boston reached France, the French Foreign Minister, Comte de Vergennes, put off signing a formal alliance with the United States after receiving news of British victories over General George Washington in New York. With the help of the Committee of Secret Correspondence, established by the Continental Congress to promote the American cause in France, his standing as a model of republican simplicity within French society, Benjamin Franklin was able to gain a secret loan and clandestine military assistance from the Foreign Minister but was forced to put off negotiations on a formal alliance while the French government negotiated a possible alliance with Spain. With the defeat of Britain at the Battle of Saratoga and growing rumors of secret British peace offers to Franklin, France sought to seize an opportunity to take advantage of the rebellion and abandoned negotiations with Spain to begin discussions with the United States on a formal alliance.
With official approval to begin negotiations on a formal alliance given by King Louis XVI of France, the colonies turned down a British proposal for reconciliation in January 1778 and began negotiations that would result in the signing of the Treaty of Alliance and Treaty of Amity and Commerce. Benjamin Franklin Silas Deane Arthur Lee Conrad Alexandre Gérard de Rayneval Peace and friendship between the U. S. and France Mutual most favored nation status with regard to commerce and navigation Mutual protection of all vessels and cargo when in U. S. or French jurisdiction Ban on fishing in waters possessed by the other with exception of the Banks of Newfoundland Mutual right for citizens of one country to hold land in other's territory Mutual right to search a ship of the other's coming out of an enemy port for contraband Right to due process of law if contraband is found on an allied ship and only after being declared contraband may it be seized Mutual protection of men-of-war and privateers and their crews from harm from the other party and reparations to be paid if this provision is broken Restoration of stolen property taken by pirates Right of ships of war and privateers to carry ships and goods taken for their enemy Mutual assistance and safe harbor to ships, both of War and Merchant, in crisis in the other's territory Neither side may commission privateers against the other nor allow foreign privateers that are enemies of either side to use their ports Mutual right to trade with enemy states of the other as long as those goods are not contraband If the two nations become enemies six months protection of merchant ships in enemy territory To prevent quarrels between allies all ships must carry passports and cargo manifests If two ships meet ships of war and privateers must stay out of cannon range but may board the merchant ship to inspect her passports and manifests Mutual right to inspection of a ship's cargo to only happen once Mutual right to have consuls, vice consuls and commissaries of one nation in the other's ports Fran
The Dutch Republic, or the United Provinces, was a confederal republic that existed from the formal creation of a confederacy in 1581 by several Dutch provinces—seceded from Spanish rule—until the Batavian Revolution of 1795. It was a predecessor state of the first Dutch nation state; the republic was known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, Republic of the Seven United Provinces, the United Provinces, Seven Provinces, Federated Dutch Provinces, or the Dutch Federation. Common names for the Republic in official correspondence were: Republic of the United Netherlands Republic of the United Provinces Republic of the Seven Provinces Republic of the Seven United Netherlands Republic of the Seven United Provinces United Provinces United Provinces of the Netherlands United States of the Netherlands United Regions Seven United Regions Until the 16th century, the Low Countries—corresponding to the present-day Netherlands and Luxembourg—consisted of a number of duchies and prince-bishoprics all of which were under the supremacy of the Holy Roman Empire, with the exception of the county of Flanders, under the Kingdom of France.
Most of the Low Countries had come under the rule of the House of Burgundy and subsequently the House of Habsburg. In 1549 Holy Roman Emperor Charles V issued the Pragmatic Sanction, which further unified the Seventeen Provinces under his rule. Charles was succeeded by King Philip II of Spain. In 1568 the Netherlands, led by William I of Orange, revolted against Philip II because of high taxes, persecution of Protestants by the government, Philip's efforts to modernize and centralize the devolved-medieval government structures of the provinces; this was the start of the Eighty Years' War. In 1579, a number of the northern provinces of the Low Countries signed the Union of Utrecht, in which they promised to support each other in their defence against the Spanish army; this was followed in 1581 by the Act of Abjuration, the declaration of independence of the provinces from Philip II. In 1582, the United Provinces invited Duke of Anjou to lead them. After the assassination of William of Orange on 10 July 1584, both Henry III of France and Elizabeth I of England declined offers of sovereignty.
However, the latter agreed to turn the United Provinces into a protectorate of England, sent the Earl of Leicester as governor-general. This was unsuccessful and in 1588 the provinces became a confederacy; the Union of Utrecht is regarded as the foundation of the Republic of the Seven United Provinces, not recognized by the Spanish Empire until the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. During the Anglo-French war, the internal territory was divided into two groups: the Patriots, who were pro-French and pro-American, the Orangists, who were pro-British; the Republic of the United Provinces faced a series of republican revolutions in 1783–1787. During this period, republican forces occupied several major Dutch cities. On the defence, the Orangist forces received aid from Prussian troops and retook the Netherlands in 1787; the republican forces fled to France, but successfully re-invaded alongside the army of the French Republic, ousting stadtholder William V, abolishing the Dutch Republic, replacing it with the Batavian Republic.
After the French Republic became the French Empire under Napoleon, the Batavian Republic was replaced by the Napoleonic Kingdom of Holland. The Netherlands regained independence from France in 1813. In the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814 the names "United Provinces of the Netherlands" and "United Netherlands" were used. In 1815, it was rejoined with the Austrian Netherlands and Liège to become the Kingdom of the Netherlands, informally known as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, to create a strong buffer state north of France. On 16 March 1815, the son of stadtholder William V crowned himself King William I of the Netherlands. Between 1815 and 1890, the King of the Netherlands was in a personal union the Grand Duke of the sovereign Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. After Belgium gained its independence in 1830, the state became unequivocally known as the "Kingdom of the Netherlands", as it remains today. During the Dutch Golden Age in the late-16th and 17th centuries, the Dutch Republic dominated world trade, conquering a vast colonial empire and operating the largest fleet of merchantmen of any nation.
The County of Holland was the most urbanized region in the world. In 1650 the urban population of the Dutch Republic as a percentage of total population was 31.7 percent, while that of the Spanish Netherlands was 20.8 percent, of Portugal 16.6 percent, of Italy 14 percent. In 1675 the urban population density of Holland alone was 61 percent, that of the rest of the Dutch Republic 27 percent; the free trade spirit of the time was augmented by the development of a modern, effective stock market in the Low Countries. The Netherlands has the oldest stock exchange in the world, founded in 1602 by the Dutch East India Company, while Rotterdam has the oldest bourse in the Netherlands; the Dutch East-India Company exchange went public in six different cities. A court ruled that the company had to reside in a single city, so Amsterdam is recognized as the oldest such institution based on modern trading principles. While the banking system evolved in the Low Countries, it was incorporated by the well-connected English, stimulating English economic output.
Between 1590 and 1712 the Dutch possessed one of the strongest and fastest navies in the world, allowing for their varied conquests, including breaking the Portuguese s
François Joseph Paul de Grasse
François Joseph Paul, comte de Grasse was a career French officer who achieved the rank of admiral. He is best known for his command of the French fleet at the Battle of the Chesapeake in 1781 in the last year of the American Revolutionary War, it helped gain the rebels' victory. After this action, de Grasse returned with his fleet to the Caribbean. In 1782 British Admiral Rodney decisively captured Grasse at the Battle of the Saintes. Grasse was criticised for his loss in that battle. On his return to France in 1784, he demanded a court martial, his grown children from his marriages all emigrated to Saint-Domingue, his eldest son Auguste assigned there as a naval officer, joined by his stepmother and sisters after the father's death. They had lost property in the French Revolution, he was among French officers. Auguste and his four sisters went as refugees to Charleston, South Carolina, where two sisters died of yellow fever. One founded a family line with her husband in New York City. Grasse's natural, adopted Indian-French son, George de Grasse, emigrated to New York City by 1799, where he married and made his adult life.
The admiral's eldest son, known as Auguste de Grasse, returned to France after Napoleon came to power, re-entered the military. He inherited his father's title as count. François-Joseph de Grasse was born and raised at Bar-sur-Loup in south-eastern France, the last child of Francois de Grasse Rouville, Marquis de Grasse, he supported his Provençal family. De Grasse married Antoinette Rosalie Accaron in 1764, they had six children who survived to adulthood, among them his eldest son Alexandre Francois Auguste de Grasse. Auguste had a career in the French army and inherited his father's title as count in 1788, his younger brother Maxime died young in 1773. They had four sisters: Amélie Rosalie Maxime, Adélaide, Melanie Veronique Maxime, Silvie de Grasse. Silvie married M. Francis de Pau in Charleston, South Carolina, raised a family with him in New York City. After his wife Antoinette died young, de Grasse married again, to Catherine Pien, widow of M. de Villeneuve. She died before him. Thirdly, he married Marie Delphine Lazare de Cibon.
In addition, while in service in India during and after the Seven Years' War, Grasse is believed to have fathered a mixed-race, French-Indian boy with an Indian woman in Calcutta. The boy, born about 1780, was known as Azar Le Guen. Grasse brought the boy back to Paris with him for his education and formally adopted him, naming him George de Grasse. After his father's death, the young man went to the United States by 1799, where he settled in New York City, he worked for a time for Aaron Burr meeting him through a connection of his father's. Burr gave him two lots of land in Manhattan, George de Grasse became a naturalized citizen in 1804, he married well and educated his three children: his son John van Salee de Grasse was the first African American to graduate from medical school and became a respected physician in Boston. The eldest son Isaac became a preacher, daughter Serena married George Downing, who became a renowned restaurant entrepreneur and civil rights activist. At the age of eleven, de Grasse entered the Order of Saint John as a page of the Grand Master.
He served as an ensign on the galleys in battles against the Moors. In 1740 at the age of 17, he formally entered the French Navy, he participated in French naval action in India during the Seven Years War. He was intermittently stationed in Calcutta, from the 1760s to 1781. Following Britain's victory over the French in the Seven Years War, Grasse helped rebuild the French navy in the years after the Treaty of Paris. In 1775, the American War of Independence broke out when American colonists rebelled against British rule. France supplied the colonists with covert aid, but remained neutral until 1778; the Treaty of Alliance established the Franco-American alliance, France entered the war on behalf of the rebels and against Great Britain. As a commander of a division, Comte de Grasse served under Louis Guillouet, comte d'Orvilliers at the First Battle of Ushant from July 23 to 27, 1778; the battle, fought off Britanny, was indecisive. In 1779, he joined the fleet of Count d'Estaing in the Caribbean as commander of a squadron.
He contributed to the capture of Grenada that year, took part in the three actions fought by Guichen against Admiral Rodney in the Battle of Martinique. Grasse was promoted to lieutenant-general of the Navy in March 1781, was successful in defeating Admiral Samuel Hood and taking Tobago. de Grasse responded to Washington and Rochambeau's Expédition Particulière when they appealed for his aid in 1781, setting sail with 3,000 troops from Saint-Domingue, where the French Caribbean fleet was based. Grasse landed the French reinforcements in Virginia. Afterward he decisively defeated the British fleet in the Battle of the Chesapeake in September 1781, he drew away the British forces and blockaded the coast until Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, ensuring the independence of the new United States of America. De Grasse returned his fleet to the Caribbean, he was less fortunate in 1782 and defeated at the Battle of St. Kitts by Admiral Hood. Shortly afterward, in April 1782, Admiral de Grasse was defeated and taken prisoner by Admiral Rodney at the Battle of the Saintes.
He was taken to London for a time. While there
Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette
Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, known in the United States as Lafayette, was a French aristocrat and military officer who fought in the American Revolutionary War, commanding American troops in several battles, including the Siege of Yorktown. After returning to France, he was a key figure in the French Revolution of 1789 and the July Revolution of 1830. Lafayette was born into a wealthy land-owning family in Chavaniac in the province of Auvergne in south central France, he followed the family's martial tradition and was commissioned an officer at age 13. He became convinced that the American cause was noble in its revolutionary war, he traveled to the New World seeking glory in it, he was made a major general at age 19, but he was not given American troops to command. He was wounded during the Battle of Brandywine but still managed to organize an orderly retreat, he served with distinction in the Battle of Rhode Island. In the middle of the war, he sailed for home to lobby for an increase in French support.
He was given senior positions in the Continental Army. In 1781, troops under his command in Virginia blocked forces led by Cornwallis until other American and French forces could position themselves for the decisive Siege of Yorktown. Lafayette returned to France and was appointed to the Assembly of Notables in 1787, convened in response to the fiscal crisis, he was elected a member of the Estates General of 1789, where representatives met from the three traditional orders of French society: the clergy, the nobility, the commoners. After forming the National Constituent Assembly, he helped to write the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen with Thomas Jefferson's assistance; this document was inspired by the United States Declaration of Independence and invoked natural law to establish basic principles of the democratic nation-state. He advocated the end of slavery, in keeping with the philosophy of natural liberty. After the storming of the Bastille, he was appointed commander-in-chief of France's National Guard and tried to steer a middle course through the years of revolution.
In August 1792, radical factions ordered his arrest, he fled into the Austrian Netherlands. He was spent more than five years in prison. Lafayette returned to France after Napoleon Bonaparte secured his release in 1797, though he refused to participate in Napoleon's government. After the Bourbon Restoration of 1814, he became a liberal member of the Chamber of Deputies, a position that he held for most of the remainder of his life. In 1824, President James Monroe invited him to the United States as the nation's guest, he visited all 24 states in the union and met a rapturous reception. During France's July Revolution of 1830, he declined an offer to become the French dictator. Instead, he supported Louis-Philippe as king, but turned against him when the monarch became autocratic, he is buried in Picpus Cemetery in Paris, under soil from Bunker Hill. He is sometimes known as "The Hero of the Two Worlds" for his accomplishments in the service of both France and the United States. Lafayette was born on 6 September 1757 to Michel Louis Christophe Roch Gilbert Paulette du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette, colonel of grenadiers, Marie Louise Jolie de La Rivière, at the château de Chavaniac, in Chavaniac-Lafayette, near Le Puy-en-Velay, in the province of Auvergne.
Lafayette's lineage was one of the oldest and most distinguished in Auvergne and in all of France. Males of the Lafayette family enjoyed a reputation for courage and chivalry and were noted for their contempt for danger. One of Lafayette's early ancestors, Gilbert de Lafayette III, a Marshal of France, had been a companion-at-arms of Joan of Arc's army during the Siege of Orléans in 1429. According to legend, another ancestor acquired the crown of thorns during the Sixth Crusade, his non-Lafayette ancestors are notable. Lafayette's paternal uncle Jacques-Roch died on 18 January 1734 while fighting the Austrians at Milan in the War of the Polish Succession. Lafayette's father died on the battlefield. On 1 August 1759, Michel de Lafayette was struck by a cannonball while fighting a British-led coalition at the Battle of Minden in Westphalia. Lafayette became marquis and Lord of Chavaniac. Devastated by the loss of her husband, she went to live in Paris with her father and grandfather, leaving Lafayette to be raised in Chavaniac-Lafayette by his paternal grandmother, Mme de Chavaniac, who had brought the château into the family with her dowry.
In 1768, when Lafayette was 11, he was summoned to Paris to live with his mother and great-grandfather at the comte's apartments in Luxembourg Palace. The boy was sent to school at the Collège du Plessis, part of the University of Paris, it was decided that he would carry on the family martial tradition; the comte, the boy's great-grandfather, enrolled the boy in a program to train future Musketeers. Lafayette's mother and great-grandfather died, on 3 and 24 April 1770 leaving Lafayette an income of 25,000 livres. Upon the death of an uncle, the 12-year-old Lafayette inherited a handsome yearly income of 120,000 livres. In May 1771, aged less than 14, Lafayette was commissioned an officer in the Musketeers, with the rank of sous-lieutenant, his duties, which included marching in military parades and pr